As part of the NHS’ vision of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2040, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is committed to a Green Plan which is aiming to integrate sustainability values into the organisation and reduce carbon emissions. One of their goals involves evaluating the journeys and travel plans of their in-house transport and reducing carbon emissions from their vehicles relating to Trust journeys.
What Sussex Did
Part of this solution is an initiative for the full electrification of their fleet, beginning with the highest emitting vehicles that the Trust owns. A robust charging infrastructure involving a bank of chargers across multiple sites would be crucial to the delivery of the Trust’s fleet electrification goals, and the Trust appointed Blink through the NHS Shared Business Services framework to deliver this. With Blink’s support, the Trust aimed to construct a charging network which would initially provide on-site charging for fleet user groups aiming to transition to an EV.
At the start of the process, the Trust fed back that this was an installation with a complex and dynamic scope, as the initial number of chargers and location was subject to change from what was outlined in the original tender. This was predominantly because it was the Trust’s first time undertaking an installation, which required flexibility from the contractor. One key complication for this project was that it encompassed multiple active hospital sites with varying levels of care and security requirements, and any chosen supplier must consider transport and security regulations along with other obstacles such as blocked paving. One example of the changing requirements came during installation when insurance and fire retardation guidance meant that chargers needed to be moved a certain distance from one of the Trust’s properties. As an active site, the project installation was required to take place alongside the hospital working times and needed to ensure BAU (business as usual). Contractors would have to work around the variety of vehicles coming into the site and delivering during digging and installation.
Blink Charging (formerly EB Charging) put forward a solution that put the challenges outlined by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at the forefront, with the client praising Blink’s flexibility and dynamism in responding to the changing requirements of the scope. The Trust explained that their working relationship with sales lead Matt Nicholls was a key component to overcoming the various challenges of the project, which resulted in the successful installation of 27 Eve Single Pro-line units across three different sites. The successful delivery of this project began at the levels of survey and site planning, where the need for BAU continuity and out-of-hours work ensured that power disruptions would be as limited as possible. During the site survey, Blink ensured that the power necessary for the chargers was coming off the least disruptive possible areas during the Trust estate. A traffic management plan was additionally developed to ensure that all roads remained open during the installation of the chargers, which saw a banksman and turning circles put in place to so that sites remained BAU throughout. Blink’s methodical preparation of each site meant that they could be proactive when obstacles emerged during installation. The blocked paving at one of the sites, for example, was successfully trenched through and reinstated without any further problems.
The lifespan of the project will now see a move towards a second phase, with site visits now being undertaken by Blink’s sales team to determine sites for future charging units. The ultimate aim is enough
coverage throughout the Trust’s estate to empower an all-EV movement amongst their fleet vehicles. All outlying areas will be covered so that fleet drivers have assurance in the availability of charging and their
ability to top up their vehicles where needed. As part of this expansion, the provision of mini-rapids which would provide charging for the Trust’s on-call fleet vehicles has been discussed. This would help address the issue of facilitating the charging of vehicles with a minimal cooldown period. The provision of charging for other user groups will be subject to a long-term agreement, but the Trust praised Blink’s Greenflux back-office for providing usage data as best to determine the capacity and feasibility for future expansion. Outside of the expansion of the network, other planned measures include wrapping the design.
The Trust praised Blink for working flexibly alongside a changing scope, budgetary constraints and tight deadlines. It was noted that Blink’s initial tender response was a strong one and that their existing relationship with Brighton & Hove City Council, where they have installed multiple different specifications of EV chargers, demonstrated an expert knowledge of charging solutions within the local area that appealed strongly to the Trust. Throughout the process, Blink was ultimately assessed as very good at coming up with solutions for a multifaceted contract.